Gay-rights activists drop opposition to Jones for Va. Democratic Party chairman

RICHMOND — Gay-rights activists appeared to drop their opposition to Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones’s candidacy for state Democratic Party chairman after the mayor issued a statement saying his stance on gay rights “continues to evolve.”

Jones had been expected to meet no opposition as Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s hand-picked choice for party chairman. But some gay-rights activists objected last week because Jones has not supported gay marriage.

The mayor, who also works as a Baptist preacher, met with activists Monday night and assured them that he does not believe in discrimination against anyone. “My position continues to evolve,” he said in a statement issued afterward.

Three rivals for the position pulled their names from consideration ahead of Tuesday’s filing deadline, two of them after the meeting and the other the day before. The withdrawals made Jones the only remaining candidate for chairman. His election is set to be formalized March 15 at a meeting of the state central committee.

“We welcome the dialogue with Mayor Jones and we will continue to work within the Democratic Party and with all party leaders to realize full equality for all Virginians,” LGBT Democrats of Virginia, which had opposed Jones, said in a statement issued through Jones’s office.

A spokesman for the group did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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